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Gyrocopter Pilot Returning Home to Uncertainty after Washington, D.C. Protest Stunt

Doug Hughes landing his gyrocopter on the Capitol lawn.

What happened to campaign finance reform activist, Doug Hughes, after he landed his gyrocopter on the Capitol lawn? Here’s the scoop, and there should be more follow-up news today.

I hope Congress Members respond to the content of his letter!

Gyrocopter Pilot Returning Home to Uncertainty after Washington, D.C. Protest Stunt

Manacled to the wall, he asked to use the phone to call his wife. He tried several times and she kept hanging up without answering, his first indication that word had spread. […]

His cell that night was bare. A slab bed. No mattress or blanket. They had taken his shoe laces and his belt. Several cops wandered by, he said, and asked him questions about his mission. He chatted with them at length about campaign finance reform. One asked, “Are you the helicopter guy?

His arraignment the next morning kept getting delayed. Officials were trying to determine the right jurisdiction. The hearing was quick, the press filling one whole section of the courthouse gallery. He was charged with operating an unregistered aircraft and violating restricted airspace. The first charge carried up to three years in prison and the second up to one year. He was released on his own recognizance and ordered back to court on May 8. He’s not supposed to leave his house now, nor is he allowed to travel to D.C. unless it’s for court or to meet with his lawyer. He also can’t operate any flying vehicles. […]

He called his employers at the Riverview Post Office to tell them he couldn’t come in Monday because he had to get fitted for his monitoring device but would be at work Tuesday. They told him he was on administrative leave pending investigation and to stay away. […]

His wife told him that reporters were sleeping in television trucks outside their home in Ruskin. He said Saturday that he hopes they’re still there when he gets home.

— Ben Montgomery, Tampa Bay Times


About The Author

JoAnn Chateau

JoAnn Chateau likes progressive politics and loves the canines. She writes fiction about an alpha Bichon named Chester, and his friends--with a dash of humor and a dab of poli-sci. JoAnn worked professionally in the Psychology and Information Science fields. Retired now, she enjoys the creative life.


  1. toritto

    Yea he’s home – already on the local news here! House arrest starting tomorrow. And he works for the post office – delivering mail! 🙂

  2. Jerry "Peacemaker"

    When imagining the high-stakes thought process, life-changing fear and eventual guts Doug Hughes showed in doing what he did, one can’t help but feel he’s a genuine American hero.

    • JoAnn Chateau


      His story is thrilling, thought-provoking, and emotionally-stirring.

      I think it would be a blockbuster movie.

      There’s even potential for humor, because Hughes’ personality is rustic and smart — and because every bought-and-sold politician could be the butt of a joke.

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